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Belgian (gluten-free) Beef Stew with Beer and Bread

February 15th, 2010 by Brooke

In 2002, Real Simple released a recipe for Belgian beef stew and for five years straight, we made an absolutely huge pot of it every winter. Then, when I went gluten-free, it just kind of fell off our radar – especially given that two of its stand-out ingredients are beer and bread.

It has such a unique flavor, nothing like the crockpot tomato paste disaster I had (and frankly, always loathed) at friend’s houses growing up. No tomato here, no carrots, no peas – just hearty beefy flavor that derives its tongue-pleasing acidity from grainy mustard and red wine vinegar.

We dusted off the recipe last week during the storm of the century and created a gluten-free version that was just as satisfying as I remembered and dead-on in terms of flavor replication. Now, to be fair, I should tell you that my mother-in-law sends us these mail-order filet mignon cuts so, in place of the chuck, we cubed the filets and threw them in there – elevating the flavor and richness dramatically. It also gave us a chance to break out our beautiful red Le Creuset Dutch oven.

In place of the Guiness and country bread, we used one whole bottle of Green’s Endeavor double dark beer (b0ught at Whole Foods) and some split Foods by George English muffins (from Whole Foods or Wegmans) slathered in mustard. This stew is so starchy we don’t even serve it over noodles or potatoes, it’s delicious just the way it is. Sure, we were housebound and anything would have tasted good, but I can assure you that as far as recipes go, dit is perfectie, as they would say in Belgium.

Here’s what you’ll need.


  • 1/4 pound bacon, diced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 pounds boneless chuck, bottom or top round, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Cognac or other brandy
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 12-ounce can dark beer or stout – Green’s Endeavor double dark
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 3 slices country-style bread, crusts removed – or 3 split GF English muffins
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Jump over to the recipe at www.realsimple.com to read about the preparation.

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